Courtesy Reuters

A "New Policy" of the French Communists?

We often speak of a "new policy" of the French Communist Party. This is, in fact, one of the major subjects of political debate in France. The question is all the more relevant because the prospect of an electoral success of the Left in France, followed by the formation of a government by the various parties of the Left and thus including Communist ministers in significant posts, is a realistic one. This would not be a totally unprecedented event: as a matter of fact, from 1944 to 1947, there were already in France Communist ministers who held important and responsible posts (Vice President of the Cabinet, Minister of National Defense, Minister of Aviation, Minister of Labor, Minister of Industrial Production, Minister of Health). But I must admit that, 30 years later, the situation is not the same. Many things have changed in our country and in the world. New questions have arisen. They call for new answers.

As far as we are concerned, the year 1968 played a decisive role in elaborating these answers, and, more generally, in what our policy line has become.

After the powerful popular movement of May-June of that year in France-as everyone here at home said-"nothing could ever be the same as before." In fact, this popular movement marked the first great postwar confrontation in France between the wage-earning masses (during these weeks nine million strikers were counted) and the political-economic system in operation at the time. Naturally, this confrontation was not understood with the same degree of clarity by all participants. But it expressed, however confusedly, an obvious yearning for change-and for a profound change, a change in society itself. It seemed, too, that this yearning was shared by rather broad strata of society, beyond the actual working class. For the first time, a significant number not only of engineers and business executives but also of civil servants participated in the struggles of the people. We could not help but learn lessons from what thus appeared to constitute

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